Coyotes at Ducks Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 3/6/2013
You knew the NHL's schedule was going to have some odd quirks this season as the league attempted to cram in 48 regular-season games for each team in four months. However, the Coyotes and Ducks have to take the cake. The teams played back-to-back games in Phoenix on Saturday and Monday and face off again Wednesday night back in Anaheim to complete their mini-playoff series. The two don't play again until the regular-season finale.
The first two matchups in Phoenix looked pretty familiar as the Coyotes won both 5-4 in a shootout. On Saturday, the Coyotes' Steve Sullivan scored the tying goal with 6:28 remaining in regulation -- his first goal in 14 games -- and then scored the lone goal in the shootout. Andrew Cogliano had three goals for his second NHL hat trick for Anaheim. Ducks rookie phenom goalie Viktor Fasth suffered his second loss in the past three games after starting 8-0-0.
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On Monday, the Ducks went to former No. 1 Jonas Hiller in net, and he actually played fairly well despite allowing four goals as Phoenix peppered Hiller with 40 shots. The Coyotes won that one when Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in the fifth round of the shootout and Mike Smith stopped Bobby Ryan; Smith has started both of these games for Phoenix. It's Anaheim's first two-game losing streak of the season. The Ducks blew leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3 in each game. Before arriving in Phoenix, the Ducks had not lost a game all season in which they scored more than twice.
Coyotes at Ducks Betting Story Lines
The Coyotes got back arguably their best forward on Monday when center Martin Hanzal returned to the lineup after missing the past five games because of an upper-body injury. He played more than 18 minutes and led the team with eight shots and five hits, also winning 13 of 19 face-offs. Hanzal has 10 points (seven goals) in 13 games and is minus-2. Phoenix has played without winger Radim Vrbata since Feb. 16 with a lower-body injury, but he was eligible to come off IR on Monday and did practice. He's targeting this game as his return. He has 12 points (four goals) in 15 games. Finally, keep an eye on Phoenix youngster Chris Brown, one of the team's top prospects. The former Michigan star made his debut Monday night and played nearly seven minutes on the fourth line. Brown is just the fifth player from the state of Texas to play in the NHL (most well known is Brian Leetch).
Anaheim right winger Kyle Palmieri missed Monday's game with an upper body injury but believes he will go Wednesday. He has 10 points (seven goals) in 20 games and averages more than 11 minutes of ice time. Corey Perry is the hottest Duck right now. He had a goal and an assist on Monday and has 14 points in his past nine games. Ryan Getzlaf has four goals and nine assists in his last eight games; he is now tied with Cogliano for the club lead with eight goals and leads the team with 25 points. Ryan found the net Monday to end a seven-game goalless skid. Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan make up the Ducks' top line. That group was scoreless and minus-7 on Saturday and had six points and was plus-2 on Monday. Nine times out of 10, Anaheim will win when the top line puts up those latter numbers.
Coyotes at Ducks NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Anaheim has been opened at -152 and Phoenix +138 with the total at 5.5. The Coyotes are 13-8-1 “over/under” (5-3-1 on road) and have lost two of their past three as a dog. The Ducks are 10-9-2 O/U (3-5-1 at home) and have won their past five as a favorite.
The Coyotes are 8-1 in their past nine playing on one day of rest. They are 4-1 in their past five in the second of a home-and-home. The Ducks have won their past five Wednesday games. They are 1-6 in their past seven in the second of a home-and-home. The over is 5-0-1 in Phoenix's and Anaheim's past six. The home team has won six of the past seven meetings. The over is 7-3 in the past 10.
Coyotes at Ducks Picks and Betting Predictions
Intense Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau made it clear after Monday's loss that he hasn't been happy with the team's defensive effort the past two games. Look for Boudreau to re-insert 6-foot-5 defenseman Bryan Allen into the lineup after he was a healthy scratch the past two games. Allen, who was averaging more than 18 minutes of ice time, at worst can block shots with his big frame. With Hiller playing Monday, I presume Fasth will be back in net for this one.
I'm sure Boudreau put his team through a spirited practice Tuesday, and the Ducks have just one home loss all season. Phoenix is just 3-4-2 on the road, and I can't see the mediocre Coyotes winning three straight against a more talented team. Take the Ducks and the under.
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